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The Mi Band grows up


aa2020 recommended

While not quite worthy of insta-buy status like the regular Mi Band 7, the snazzier Smart Band 7 Pro still earns its slightly higher asking price with value additions like built-in GPS and a larger, smartwatch-style display.

Xiaomi’s beloved line of Mi Band fitness trackers is synonymous with affordable pricing. What really makes them special, though, isn’t the low barrier of entry, it’s the value you get in return. The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 nudged the series’ price up by around ~$10, but tweaks to the formula like a brighter, larger, always-on display and improved health tracking metrics ensured it was still a steal. But for the first time, it wasn’t the only option from the Beijing juggernaut. Xiaomi had a model with further upgrades and a smartwatch-styled look waiting in the wings.

Does the bigger, better, and bolder Mi Band 7 Pro — a.k.a. the Smart Band 7 Pro on the global stage — stretch that value proposition too far? Find out in Android Authority’s Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro review.

About this Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro review: I tested the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro over a period of 10 days. The unit was provided by Xiaomi for this review.

What you need to know about the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro stats

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

  • Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro: £84.99 / €99.99 / ~$80-120

The vanilla Smart Band 7/Mi Band 7 launched in Europe in late June 2022, but mere days later Xiaomi unveiled its second fitness tracker of the year — the then China-exclusive Xiaomi Mi Band 7 Pro. It took another four months for the newly-monikered Smart Band 7 Pro to make its way to the West.

As the first in the series to carry the Pro affix, the Smart Band 7 Pro expectedly brings a little more to the table than Xiaomi’s basic tracker as it looks to blur the lines between fitness band and budget smartwatch. Gone is the pill-shape design and wrap-around silicon band, replaced by a rectangular face with a 1.64-inch 2.5D display, a shiny metal-coated frame, and quick-release bands. The bands are also joined with a traditional jewelry clasp as opposed to the Band 7’s pin-in-hole buckle.

The Smart Band 7 Pro sees Xiaomi looking to blur the lines between fitness band and budget smartwatch.

While some of the changes to the wearable’s feature set are more subtle than you might expect for a “Pro” model, the Smart Band 7 Pro does bring some notable additions such as built-in GPS support and an ambient light sensor. It also houses a larger battery (235mAh, up from 180mAh on the Band 7) in an attempt to offset the larger display.

Xiaomi’s health and fitness suite is carried over almost wholesale from the Band 7, including continuous blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring, 24-hour heart rate monitoring and alerts, sleep, stress, and basic menstrual cycle tracking. This is complemented by a ridiculously expansive 110+ different activities to track. On-board apps will also be familiar, though the global model does support Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant out of the box when enabled via the Mi Fitness companion app, though there are reports that this won’t work in the US.

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro bands

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro comes in either Light Gold (pictured) or Graphite Gray, either of which can be combined with a variety of strap colors. Faux-leather straps in Pine Green or Moon Gray are also seemingly available, though I couldn’t find these on sale anywhere.

As with other Xiaomi fitness trackers, you can’t officially buy the Smart Band 7 Pro in North America, however, you can grab one via Amazon sellers or through import sites without much trouble.

What’s good?

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro display

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The Mi Band series has always managed to wear more hats than you’d expect for such a cheap range of fitness trackers, but its actual wardrobe has always been a bit lacking. After seven generations of boring black pills, the Smart Band 7 Pro throws off its fitness band shackles and looks like a bonafide smartwatch; one that’s just as suited to a brisk morning jog as it is for casual or smart wear at any time of the day.

While the polycarbonate rear does threaten to undermine its premium feel, the pronounced, curved case and metal-coated chassis are enough of a visual distraction for anything less than a really close inspection. The latter will definitely scratch easier than a true metal frame, but based on my experience it’ll take a few bumps and bruises before showing any obvious wear. The tempered glass also held up despite a few light knocks, and the anti-fingerprint coating kept any sweaty smudges to a minimum.

The Smart Band 7 Pro’s larger display is more practical and doesn’t sacrifice on quality.

Despite its increased size and weight, the Smart Band 7 Pro doesn’t feel any heavier on the wrist. As a long-time Mi Band 6 user (and Mi Band 3 before it), I can safely say that the additional bulk doesn’t register at all. While it might have been nice to see the addition of a crown or button — especially now that there’s ample room — for an extra input option and to complement the more sophisticated aesthetic, Xiaomi’s swipes and gestures do the job just fine at this price tier.

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro menu

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The stretched display offers a pleasant increase in screen real estate without necessitating a much larger form factor. The quality is still great too; the 2.5D glass falls elegantly into the frame, disguising bezels that, while not exactly thin, are easily ignored. Credit to Xiaomi for also increasing the screen resolution to match the pixels per inch total of the regular Band 7. As a result, it’s just as crisp and bright (with a peak 500 nits), while benefitting from the Pro-exclusive ambient light sensor that will dynamically adjust the brightness to match your surroundings.

Xiaomi claims that the Band 7 Pro is 50% larger than the vanilla Band 7. Big numbers are one thing, but there’s an immediate practical advantage in that the extra space allows for two vertical rows of apps instead of one. The app title text is gone, so you will need to remember what all the icons mean in the drawer. However, that’s a small price to pay for not needing to scroll as fervidly to get to the correct workout type when you’re warmed up and ready to go. The rest of the UI has also been tweaked for the larger scale, and though the result looks even more like a watchOS wannabe now, I can think of worse decisions than mimicking the most popular smartwatch platform. The watch faces are also far more fun, with some nicely scaled repeats and some that are exclusive to the larger Band 7 device.

There’s plenty to like on the health and fitness front — hardly a surprise when it lifts the Band 7’s winning formula almost wholesale. Resting and active heart rate tracking proved accurate enough when tested against control devices. As well as heart rate alerts, the Band 7 Pro’s SpO2 tracking can also warn you if your blood oxygen drops below 90%. It’s certainly not a medical-grade device, but having continuous SpO2 monitoring in the first place isn’t a given at this price tier. There are tons of different activity modes too. Perhaps too many, frankly, but I’m sure someone out there is specifically looking to dig deep into their checks notes snowmobile workout statistics. It’s also handy to have automatic workout detection for common activities — namely running, walking, treadmill, rowing, and elliptical training.

xiaomi smart band 7 pro gps

The biggest upgrade to the fitness suite for the Smart Band 7 Pro is built-in GPS. No longer do Mi Band users need to lug around their phones to get a full picture of their route and related distance stats. It performs well, too. It takes a few seconds to get a location lock, but after that, I didn’t encounter any issues with connection dropouts outdoors throughout my testing. As for accuracy, the graph above shows a comparison walking route with my Galaxy Watch 4. While neither device is fully on point — both veer into people’s houses on occasion — the Band 7 Pro stuck far more closely to the actual path I took. Notably, it also picked up on my location far quicker than Samsung’s premium wearable, as you can see from the delayed blue start line.

It’s a battery hog, but built-in GPS is a big upgrade for Xiaomi’s Pro fitness tracker.

Battery life is best looked at as a glass-half-full situation. It’s certainly worse than the Band 7, which managed around a week in our testing with advanced tracking features turned on. By comparison, the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro managed around three days with the always-on display (AOD) active, continuous heart rate, sleep, and SpO2 monitoring turned on, and tracking a daily workout using the built-in GPS. The latter is the biggest drain, with a loss of around 10% battery after an hour-long walk.

Xiaomi claims that the Smart Band 7 pro can go upwards of 12 days at a push. That might be true if you turn off all of the tracking and the AOD, but I’m not sure that’s necessary. Switching off the AOD alone and falling back on the reliable raise-to-wake gesture immediately boosted endurance by a couple of days, and even two or three days on a single charge is far from the worst we’ve seen from smartwatch-type trackers.

What’s not so good?

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro apps

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

For a wearable that has “Smart” and “Pro” in the name (at least in the West), the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro is kind of, well… dumb… and basic. It might look fancier than the regular Xiaomi Mi Band 7, but when stripped to its essentials, the functionality is identical, and with no app store present, there’s no way of adding new apps at all. This creeping sense of familiarity sadly extends to the underbaked sleep tracking, which is incredibly finicky about when it actually kicks in. It also offers very little in the way of advice or feedback about your sleep patterns.

Furthering the non-Pro feel is the inability to make mobile payments due to the lack of NFC outside of China. There’s still no speaker, either, so no calls, verbal workout coaching, or message alerts beyond vibrations. And those vibrations are fearsome, and not in a good way. If the Smart Band 7 Pro is resting on a table and it gets a ping it sounds like a pneumatic drill has gone off; it’s one of the few areas where the Smart Band 7 Pro feels cheap.

The Smart Band 7 Pro is technically compatible with two different apps, but neither offer the full package you’d hope for.

However, the real headaches come when you boot up the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro’s companion app. The device pushes you towards the Mi Fitness app (formerly Xiaomi Wear) via a QR code on startup, and that’s for a good reason because unlike older Mi Bands, the Smart Band 7 Pro is, at the time of this writing, seemingly not compatible with Zepp Life, f.k.a. Mi Fit — the original Mi Band phone app. This is a bit confusing when you consider that the regular Mi Band 7 can sync up with Zepp Life just fine, but it becomes even more so when you realize that there isn’t feature parity between the two. For example, Mi Fitness is locked to the metric system and cannot sync with Google Fit — two things that all other Mi Bands can do via Zepp Life, should you wish.

It should be said that the Mi Fitness app offers a more pleasant visual experience due to the Apple-like UI and houses all of the watch face customization options. However, I’ve always found the ever-faithful Zepp Life to be much clearer and less fussy with its presentation of fitness data and workouts. While you could never use both at the same time anyway, the missing features in Mi Fitness stick out even more when you don’t have any other option.

Finally, while performance around the UI is generally slick when swiping between apps and workout modes, the notifications tray is a whole other story. Sometimes it just froze momentarily in my testing, but almost all of the time it lagged and stuttered when attempting to scroll between messages.

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro specs

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro

Display

1.64-inch AMOLED
Always-on display mode
2.5D tempered glass
456 x 280 resolution
Up to 500 nits
150+ watch faces

Sensors

PPG heart rate sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
SpO2
Ambient light sensor
Built-in GPS (BeiDou, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS)

Battery

235mAh
12-day typical battery life

Connectivity

Bluetooth 5.2 BLE

Tracking and other features

110+ fitness modes
Continuous SpO2 tracking with low blood oxygen alerts
Sleep tracking
Breathing exercises
Stress monitoring
Female health tracking
PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence)
VO2 Max calculations
Aerobic/anaerobic training alerts
Recovery time
Training load
Idle alerts
Camera remote shutter

Water resistance

5ATM

App compatibility

Mi Fitness app
Zepp Life app

Charging method

Magnetic charging

Supported devices

Android 6.0 and above
iOS 10 and above

Dimensions

44.7mm × 28.8mm × 11mm
20.5g (without strap)

Colors

Light Gold, Graphite Gray

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro review: The verdict

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro front

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro is a super-sized version of an already fantastic budget fitness tracker. Whether or not it’s worth it over the regular Mi Band 7 comes down to a simple question: is the extra expenditure worth it for a fitness tracker that looks more like a smartwatch and doesn’t require you to carry your phone around on a run?

If your answer to that question is yes, then the Smart Band 7 Pro will be a great buy. It’s hard to find a tracker with this many features at this price. This is especially true of built-in GPS support, as popular options in the price range like the Fitbit Inspire 3, Amazon Halo View, Garmin Vivosmart 5, and Garmin Vivomove Sport all rely on connected GPS instead. Unless you desperately want a round face, it’s also a better pseudo smartwatch than Xiaomi’s own Watch S1 Active when you factor in the price difference and that they both share the same rough software edges (seriously, Xiaomi, fix your app parity).

The Smart Band 7 Pro takes Xiaomi’s fitness trackers to the next level with built-in GPS and a larger display.

If you do want a more well-rounded, reliable experience, the closest you’ll get at this price point is the Fitbit Versa 3 ($154.5 at Amazon) or Fitbit Charge 5 ($148.95 at Amazon) on sale. The latter is especially enticing in the US, as while you can import the Smart Band 7 Pro, it can push as high as $120, which isn’t far off the Charge 5’s typical ~$130-$150 discounted price on Amazon. The Charge 5 is undoubtedly a better fitness tracker, though if you can find the Band 7 Pro for under $100 (or you’re in Europe where the retail price is already low), you’ll likely find all of the pesky quirks a little more tolerable when you remember the cash you’re saving.

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro

5 ATM waterproof • Long battery-life • Always-on display

Mi Band 7 Pro becomes a little more smartwatch than fitness tracker

The Mi Band 7 Pro has a larger AMOLED display than its predecessors. It includes 117 sport-tracking modes, all-day cardiac monitoring, and an onboard coach with pre-planned programs.

Top Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro questions and answers

No, the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro has clip-in straps that are completely different from ones that are compatible with other Mi Bands.

Not officially, but you can buy the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro via import sites and sellers, such as Amazon.

You will need a compatible smartphone to set up your Smart Band 7 Pro and sync your fitness and health data via an app, but you don’t need a phone with you during workouts to track all the important metrics due to the built-in GPS.

The NFC variant of the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro is exclusive to China.

No, the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro does not have a speaker so you can’t take calls on it.

Yes, the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro is compatibile with iPhones running iOS 10 and above.

The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro recharged up to ~61% in 30 minutes in our testing.



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